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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    I'm picking up an old Oscar that will need some work, trying to get ahead of myself by ordering some necessities. Since it's not coming with a blind filter, I presume it's been quite some time since it's been backflushed. I was going to grab one from coffeeparts, but then saw the essential cleaning kit which includes a blind filter. Does anyone know if this fits an Oscar portafilter? And is this kit advisable or should I be using something different than the Cafetto?
    Last edited by Hipsi; 20th February 2018 at 11:53 AM.

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    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    The Oscar has a 58mm basket. So any standard 58mm blind filter will fit the handle

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    Quote Originally Posted by Casa Espresso View Post
    The Oscar has a 58mm basket. So any standard 58mm blind filter will fit the handle
    Okay cool, I have much to learn. But that's why I'm here!

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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipsi View Post
    I'm picking up an old Oscar that will need some work, trying to get ahead of myself by ordering some necessities.
    Hi Hipsi

    Congrats on the new machine?
    From NickRPT sale?

    Is this a first machine for you in general (edit: I see from other posts youíve been using the Saeco Via Venz ) / first fixer upper?

    When are you picking up the Oscar?
    Whatís the history of the machine?
    🤣

    Depending on condition it could likely need some of the usual stuff such as new shower screen and group head seal for starters...

    Interesting to check for leaks...

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    Hi Matt,

    First fixer upper. I’ve had the VV for over 10 years and it’s still going strong, I feel more recently however that I’m just asking too much of it as I get more particular about my coffee. It’s been a great learning tool. The Oscar has a cracked boiler. Has come by way of a heavy handed repair, sounds like it’s cracked around one of the outlets on the boiler. I haven’t laid eyes on it but it’s only $50 so figured I haven’t got much to lose. I have a mate picking it up for me tomorrow. I have a friend who is a boiler maker so I’ll get him to look at repairing the boiler if it’s otherwise okay. That’s pretty much all I know. I’m expecting to have to do shower screen and group head gasket as bare minimum along with a really good clean up.
    While apart I’ll install gicleurs and probably an anti vac valve. Might even put a brew pressure gauge in. Will wait till I get my hands on it to see the depth of the damage.
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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    Sounds like it should be a fun project.
    Good starting price helps too.

    I remember seeing a Chris Baca video where a friend of his fitted (from memory) a Musica style steam arm and anti-vac / vacuum breaker. Steam knob mod while not particularly pretty seemed more fun than turning the dial to engage steam.

    This on HB seems to have a bit of discussion
    https://www.home-barista.com/espress...am-t28247.html

    Be interested to see some pics and your project as it progresses.

    All the best for it.
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    I will have a leak free oscar boiler for sale in about 2 weeks. It has been previously repaired at the boiler intake. It has the 4 holes on top of boiler, so ready to accept a anti vac valve.
    Its actually a musica boiler. But same same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    I will have a leak free oscar boiler for sale in about 2 weeks. It has been previously repaired at the boiler intake. It has the 4 holes on top of boiler, so ready to accept a anti vac valve.
    Its actually a musica boiler. But same same.
    good to know. Let me know when it's ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Sounds like it should be a fun project.
    Good starting price helps too.

    I remember seeing a Chris Baca video where a friend of his fitted (from memory) a Musica style steam arm and anti-vac / vacuum breaker. Steam knob mod while not particularly pretty seemed more fun than turning the dial to engage steam.

    This on HB seems to have a bit of discussion
    https://www.home-barista.com/espress...am-t28247.html

    Be interested to see some pics and your project as it progresses.

    All the best for it.
    I found a mod where they replaced the steam knob with a solenoid, switched by the original power button. This left the knob hole to be filled with a gauge. Really smart mod I thought!
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    Well here it is. Itís going to need a really good cleanup. Looks like itís buried treasure going by the amount of dirt falling out of it. I donít quite understand but anyway....

    Body is in reasonable condition apart from the water filler flap being cracked in half.

    Crack on the boiler is around the fitting with the pressurestat. Obviously he has replaced the safety valve and used a torque wrench to tighten it up. Strangely the pressurestat is neither at Sirai or a Campini. Itís a Lefoo LF25-2512. 0.5 to 1.2bar. I canít find any info about Oscars coming with a Lefoo so it must be a replacement.

    Barely any evidence of boiler insulation still in place, and quite prominent evidence of corrosion around all the fittings on the boiler (how normal is this?)




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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    Impressive boiler corrosion. I wonder what delights await on the inside.

    Did the previous owner have this sitting in garage for awhile?

    Interested to see if you take out the double or single filter basket and see whatís on the other side. Wondering if it will be caked with coffee sludge as an extra present for you. 🤣

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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Impressive boiler corrosion. I wonder what delights await on the inside.

    Did the previous owner have this sitting in garage for awhile?

    Interested to see if you take out the double or single filter basket and see whatís on the other side. Wondering if it will be caked with coffee sludge as an extra present for you. 🤣
    Haha, havenít opened that present yet. I do however have the boiler out and all the pipe work ready for a bath. Inside the boiler actually doesnít look all that bad and group head looks like it has a new shower screen and gasket. Maybe itís not all that neglected.

    I think what I thought was dirt, was in fact the remains of the boiler insulation.

    So in the process of dismantling the pipes I managed to twist the thread off one of the t-pieces and broke the nut attached to the end of the boiler (down the bottom with the fluffy looking corrosion). All in all not bad I thought, I can easily replace them.

    The retention valve is dead, so Iíll add that to my shopping list. Something tells me this was actually the original issue the previous owner was trying to solve when he replaced the safety valve.

    Anyway, off to pour a citric acid bath and will try to drop the boiler off for the crack repair in the next couple of days.

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Doesnt look that bad. should clean up well!

    Cheers
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    Shots of the boiler pre-repair and cleanup.





    And the pipe work pre citric acid bath.

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    Dont soak the element connectors...

    Im away at work for a week. So havent touched that oscar boiler yet.
    Yours will probably be done by then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Dont soak the element connectors...

    Im away at work for a week. So havent touched that oscar boiler yet.
    Yours will probably be done by then.
    Already did.... but once I cleared all the black stuff of that built up on them, they look pretty good.

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    Well if its popping your rcd now, you will know why.

    Cook it in oven for couple of hours, it might come good
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Well if its popping your rcd now, you will know why.

    Cook it in oven for couple of hours, it might come good
    Of course, water and power donít enjoy each otherís company. I guess I just assumed the electrical element would be sealed from the connector end.

    Will try cooking it, thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hipsi View Post
    I guess I just assumed the electrical element would be sealed from the connector end.
    True for a brand new element or one that hasn't been in service for very long. Not so for anything else...

    Mal.
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    I can see in your pic that part of the element insulation has cracked off when you bent the electrode to get a spanner on it.
    90% sure that wont help it to be watertight.

    I see you have a block on the boiler on the element end. Is that for a thermal fuse or something,? I have a tube in the element with a folded piece of wire in it for a thermal fuse.

    Elektros list some upgrade parts for the oscar (including new boiler for 90€ )

    The flange nuts i cut from a socket. It seems that when they repair these, they embrittle the brass parts, making them weak and brittle. Looks like yours was repaired on the top steam outlet too. Factory welds are very neat!
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    The block on the end of the boiler is for a thermal fuse as you suspected. I donít have the one inside the element.

    Will a resistance test tell me if the element is okay, or will I need to piece everything together again and see if it trips the RCD?
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    Personally I would look at replacing the element alltogether - disassembling it 3 months later to replace it because it failed, doesn't strike me to be a particularly fun endeavour. You already have it in pieces, might as well replace it with a new one.

    Looking at its positioning in the machine - you'd have to undo all the piping again to take it off, to get to it. The less that you have to undo/redo all the connectors, the better. Do it once, do it well - and all that jazz
    Last edited by inorog; 3rd March 2018 at 10:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inorog View Post
    Personally I would look at replacing the element alltogether - disassembling it 3 months later to replace it because it failed, doesn't strike me to be a particularly fun endeavour. You already have it in pieces, might as well replace it with a new one.

    Looking at its positioning in the machine - you'd have to undo all the piping again to take it off, to get to it. The less that you have to undo/redo all the connector, the better. Do it once, do it well - and all that jazz
    Itís currently showing 41 ohms so from what Iíve read that looks pretty right. Not bothered if I have to dismantle it in 3 months time. Only took me about an hour the first time around, Iíll only get quicker at it. Kind of like replacing a gearbox.
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  24. #24
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hipsi View Post
    It’s currently showing 41 ohms
    That's not the important test.
    Need to use an insulation tester and check between element conductor and the outer sheath.
    A multimeter isn't much use for this as the test voltage is too low and may indicate a false value.
    Need to achieve a value (with the Insulation Tester) of more than 1.0 MΩ...

    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hipsi View Post
    It’s currently showing 41 ohms so from what I’ve read that looks pretty right. Not bothered if I have to dismantle it in 3 months time. Only took me about an hour the first time around, I’ll only get quicker at it. Kind of like replacing a gearbox.
    Whatever makes your brew flow in the morning!

    I prefer to spend my time making the coffee, not assembling the coffee machine to make the coffee but then again - I've been told by reliable sources I'm peculiar like that
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    That's not the important test.
    Need to use an insulation tester and check between element conductor and the outer sheath.
    A multimeter isn't much use for this as the test voltage is too low and may indicate a false value.
    Need to achieve a value (with the Insulation Tester) of more than 1.0 MΩ...

    Mal.
    Bugger eh. Trying to track down someone with an insulation tester right now

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    Its called a megger.

    Cook element in the oven for couple of hours at (200?) first. (I think it was Dimal that suggested that.) Will save you a second trip.


    Idk. And its way beyond my experience. (if it fails the megger) But the idea of salts (citric acid) in a element sounds trouble.
    I think if it fails, id soak it again in maybe distilled water? To try get some of the salts out. Then cook it.

    Element rebuilding and repair seems to be a bit of a black art in the internet world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    Cook element in the oven for couple of hours at (200?) first. (I think it was Dimal that suggested that.) Will save you a second trip.
    This is only a "quick fix" to prove the problem exists and that you need to order a new one ASAP.
    The correct way to go about heating in an oven and then testing (with a Megger), is to test the element after a couple of hours in the oven, when nice and hot (well above 100C; 150C would be good), record the reading and then allow to cool down to ambient temperature for a couple of hours, then test again. If the second test is measurably lower than the first (and less than 1.0MΩ), the element is definitely cactus. Proves that moisture is being sucked into the element's mineral insulation.

    Mal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    This is only a "quick fix" to prove the problem exists and that you need to order a new one ASAP.
    The correct way to go about heating in an oven and then testing (with a Megger), is to test the element after a couple of hours in the oven, when nice and hot (well above 100C; 150C would be good), record the reading and then allow to cool down to ambient temperature for a couple of hours, then test again. If the second test is measurably lower than the first (and less than 1.0MΩ), the element is definitely cactus. Proves that moisture is being sucked into the element's mineral insulation.

    Mal.
    So at this point I either need to buy a megger or an element, or alternatively put it all back together with the expectation I might have to pull it apart again. Iím thinking Iíll go with the latter. As my father always taught me when I was growing up ďexperience is what you get when you donít get what you wantĒ

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    Yes mate...
    I wouldn't buy a Megger (not cheap) for the couple of times you might use it in the next ten years.
    It really is just an exercise for the interest of it, for a sparky who already owns a Megger and uses it pretty well every day...

    Mal.
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  31. #31
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    I dont think its that big a job to change the element.

    How is the boiler repair coming along?

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    haven't got the boiler back yet, in no rush I still have to order a few other bits before I can start reassembling. Just saved myself a few pretty pennies by not going with a genuine boiler insulation, rather I ran down to the local foam and rubber joint and picked up a length of Neolon 4010 10mm foam. This stuff is noise and heat rated, up to 180 degrees. Looks very similar to concreting expansion joint foam. Only cost me $5.40 for a piece of 1200x300.

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    Ainít she pretty. Kind of feel like I need to put a clear window on the side of the body and not insulate it now!!!





    And this is the repair

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    Ooooh! Shiny! Precioussssssssss!
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    Bewdiful!!

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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    Deleted 10char
    Last edited by Hipsi; 6th March 2018 at 10:28 AM.
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    Sorry to rain on your parade, the boiler might have polished up shiny and pretty but the brazing looks a bit rough. What brazing alloy / flux did they use and did you clean the boiler in acid / descaler before you had it brazed?
    I would probably pressure test it before you go to the trouble of putting it back into the machine.

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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    Unsure of what he used specifically. The work was done by a boilermaker. I gave it to him non-cleaned. He was very specific about that.
    I will be pressure testing it to be certain.

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    Gave the chassis a clean up today as it had the obligatory rust on the bottom. All the nutserts were rusted and when I initially took the case off I struggled to get the bottom screws out. One in fact was rusted solid in the nutsert and I had to persuade the case off without removing the screw.

    Iíve removed the bottom nutserts and wire brushed thoroughly, then applied a coat of etch primer followed by a couple of Metalshield.

    New nutserts in place now and ready for my parts to arrive from elektros this week so I can start reassembling.







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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    So after giving the plastic body parts a long soak in hot soapy water it looks like theyíre not going to clean up as easily as I hoped. In particular the front face where the buttons are has a pretty bad faded whiteish stain that is also prevalent on the underside where the group head comes through. I donít know what would cause this but nonetheless it doesnít just wipe off.

    I think my only options are a) plastic polish or b) a paint job. Iím leaning towards a) since I donít want to be dealing with paint chips down the track. Either way Iím likely to lose my logos/labeling on the front face. Has anyone come across someone that has created individual replacement decals? Iím thinking I might need to invest some time in front of autocad tracing over a photo of them so I can have the decals made up.

    Last edited by Hipsi; 13th March 2018 at 07:08 PM.

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    A sign shop will do a awesome job of scanning and duplicating these.
    Also id second the plastic polish as a first try

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    How about bang it back together and test it out?
    My musica now needs a hot water solenoid now i have it up and going....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    How about bang it back together and test it out?
    My musica now needs a hot water solenoid now i have it up and going....
    I plan to once my parts arrive from Italy

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    Parts have arrived! Itís play time tonight

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  45. #45
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    Its a awesome job that they send pics of where each of the gicleurs go.
    I got their sealant too. Its possibly loctite in a different bottle, but it seems pretty good.
    Also my co1 valve was leaky and i got the metal upgrade.
    Im thinking i will get the metal anti-vac as mine is a bit leaky too.

    You are so close now....

  46. #46
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    I thread taped the element too. Just so it cant corrode together next time.

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    I was unsure if I should get the sealant. As it was, anything further that I added to the order doubled my freight so I tapped out.

    Now Iím second guessing whether Iíll need the sealant or not. I see that Reece have Loxeal 18-10 listed in some of their paraphernalia. I read that 58-11 (available from Funnings) is too strong, but 18-10 could be okay. Or do I just use Teflon tape? I guess Iíll find out

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    Im sure there would be a loctite equivalent, food grade...
    I saw the bummings stuff, but not the reece stuff.

    Caution with thread tape. It makes the threads slippery and easy to overtighten. Also mine leaked with thread tape. The loxeal fixed it so far, not sure longterm, as we both had pretty crusty boilers from leaks- if its the factory issue sealer.

    Id send you mine, but away at work till easter.

  49. #49
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    The Loxeal 18-10 will be fine.
    Perfect for this application...

    Mal.
    Sorry, that should be Loxeal 58-11, not 18-10.
    Last edited by Dimal; 20th March 2018 at 10:35 PM.
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    Cleaning up an old Oscar

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    The Loxeal 18-10 will be fine.
    Perfect for this application...

    Mal.
    They (Arundel) didnít have any. Closest that his it is Kempsey. I donít feel like driving that far...

    They did have some stuff called LA-CO T.O.T. It looked promising, non toxic etc but couldnít find any info about it being used in a portable water scenario

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